Azimio One Kenya leader has called off the Monday demonstrations and said he is willing to engage with the government in a bipartisan manner as suggested by the President William Ruto.
Speaking at his Capitol Hill offices on Sunday evening, the former Prime Minister acknowledged the statement made by President Ruto from Statehouse calling on him to stop the demonstrations so that a bipartisan process can begin.
“Today Hon. William Ruto has issued what I regard as an important statement since the election” he said and added that his team has met and listened to a diverse group of Kenyans including religious leaders about the crisis facing the country.
“In view of the foregoing, we turn down our demonstrations for Monday (April 3rd, 2023)” Said the opposition leader.
“We have raised the key issues that we face as a country including the electoral injustice, the cost of living, the legitimacy of the IEBC, the opening of the server for a forensic audit, the savage attacks on the media and innocent civilians by the police” said Odinga flanked by his fellow Azimio leaders.
Odinga said they do not want to see the 4 commissioners who had said no to be sacrificed. “We want those commissioners to be reinstated so that we can be able to move in as a country in one and a united way.” He said.
The following is the full statement by Azimio Leader Raila Odinga
AZIMIO LA UMOJA COUNTER OFFER TO HON WILLIAM SAMOEI RUTO ON DIALOGUE BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT AND AZIMIO LA UMOJA April 2, 2023
• Today, Hon Samoei Ruto, my opponent in last year’s presidential contest, has issued what I regard as an important statement since the election.
• We have met with and listened to a diverse group of Kenyans including religious leaders from all faiths about the crisis facing our country.
• They have implored us to give dialogue, especially during the holy periods of Easter and Ramadhan.
• It is in this context that we make this counter offer to Hon Ruto’s call for dialogue.
• Mr. Ruto has asked me and Azimio to enter into a constitutional, open-ended, and binding dialogue with his government to find a resolution to the issues that we in Azimio have raised about the last year’s election and key governance and cost of living issues facing our country.
• As Kenyans know, we disputed the 2022 election results declared by then IEBC Chair Wafula Chebukati and a minority of two commissioners against the express decision of a majority of FOUR commissioners to reject those results.
• To our consternation, the Supreme Court unfortunately agreed with the IEBC.
• We refused to accept the ruling of the Supreme Court as biased and lacking in proper jurisprudence.
• Since then, we have widely consulted with the people of Kenya throughout the width and breadth of this great country of ours in mass rallies and more recently in demonstrations in Nairobi and elsewhere.
• We believe that the people of this country understand the danger we face as a country.
• In our view elections are sacred because they must represent the true voice of the people.
• We have raised key issues that we face as a country including electoral injustice, the cost of living, the legitimacy of the IEBC, the opening of the server for a forensic audit, the savage attacks on media and innocent civilians by the police, and the viability of our democracy, including buying off opposition MPs.
• I believe that Kenya is today facing its worst crisis in decades out which we could recover, or go the way of other failed states.
• As leaders, it is our responsibility in Azimio La Umoja to save this country from catastrophe.
■ We as Azimio La Umoja have resolved the following:
1. We acknowledge Mr. Ruto’s olive branch for a dialogue on the key issues raised by Azimio La Umoja. To us, this a positive development.
2. We agree that a balanced parliamentary process co-chaired by both sides and backed by experts is an appropriate way to proceed.
3. In our view, this committee must be composed with immediate with strict deadlines for resolving the crisis facing the country.
4. In accepting the call for dialogue, we ask that all arrests and prosecutions related to our demonstrations be stopped with immediate effect.
5. In view of the foregoing, we stand down our demonstrations for Monday April 3, 2023.
6. But in doing so, we want to emphasize that the rights to assemble, demonstrate, petition, and speak are ironclad as provided for in our constitution.
7. Therefore, we reserve our right to call for demonstrations should this process not bear fruit. Should there be no meaningful engagement, or response from the Hon Ruto our counter offer, we resolve to resume our demonstrations after a week.